I've mulched the paths between the beds with paper feed sacks and cardboard, topped with old hay. It's doing a decent job of keeping weeds down in the pathways, although I need to add another layer now that it has been packed down over time. The veggie beds themselves are not mulched, and I do have to weed those quite often. I've said before that this must be the best stand of bermuda grass we have on the whole place. It's a never-ending chore keeping those runners and roots under control.
After I officially gave up on the carrot seeds I'd planted a month earlier, they finally began to sprout. A week later I counted ten tiny little carrot plants, from two packets of carrot seeds. A week after that I was weeding and couldn't find a single carrot seedling. I wonder if the grasshoppers ate them, or if something else is responsible. I am officially giving up on carrots, at least for this year. I'm going to plant turnips in the empty bed.
The grasshoppers feasted on the beans. I planted three kinds: yellow bush beans, kidney beans, and green beans. They looked so good for awhile and each plant had 4-6 leaves, then they ceased to exist. I guess beans were my catch crop this year - planted to feed the grasshoppers so they'd leave the other plants alone, at least for awhile.
I found a huge tomato horn worm on one of the homestead plants the other day. I dropped it into the chicken run and watched Samson the rooster slurp it up.
white onion bed in the garden, and yellow and purple onions in galvanized tubs. The tops of the white onion plants in the garden have been eaten off. I thought the culprit was a rabbit or a squirrel, but one hot afternoon I was outside and realized that the onion tops were covered with grasshoppers. I could put flour or whatever on the onion-tops, but then the grasshoppers might simply move and attack the leaves of other plants. Onions can grow with bitten-off tops, I think; so far they're doing ok.
This is the cayenne pepper plant. There is a little light-green pepper right in the center, and several other flowers as well. The white on the leaves is flour to deter the grasshoppers. I am still looking for a better solution to the invasion, but this has worked to a point.
All of the peppers have flowers on them, there are several green peppers, and there's a sweet pepper ready to pick.
I planted sunflower seeds; some of them sprouted but they too have disappeared under the grasshoppers' onslaught. This is a huge plant that I transplanted into the garden when it was about three feet tall, now it towers way over my head. My guess is that it's nine or ten feet tall now. I love the cheery flowers. This isn't a variety that is grown for food, it's just a wild sunflower. My goats would sure love to eat the big plant if I'd let them though.
The lettuce and yellow and purple onions were planted in tubs near the herb garden. The lettuce is finished and I harvested it all last month, and am deciding what to plant in that space next. There was a volunteer purple basil plant growing with the onions but the grasshoppers devoured that too.
My germination rate was very poor this year. I'm hoping to carve out more space in the house to start seedlings next spring, both to get a jump on the season and to get around the poor germination rate. A greenhouse is on my wish list, but I know it won't happen soon - and maybe what I need instead is a screen house to keep grasshoppers out. I'm also planning to use floating row covers over the tender crops as grasshopper-prevention.
How does your garden grow?
You might also enjoy:
The New Herb Garden
The Herb Garden in June
The Herb Garden in July
The Herb Garden in August
My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a